A LIFE-saving charity is celebrating a decade of its vital service.

On their tenth anniversary, praise has been given to the heroes of the North West Blood Bikes service who had the vision of creating a volunteer bike courier service for the local NHS.

The charity, which was started in May 2012, has carried out nearly 110 thousand successful runs, covering over 1.5 million miles and saving the NHS more than £6.3 million.

Over two-thirds of the work of the charity is deemed to be an urgent priority for the NHS.

To commemorate the milestone, the charity has planned to light up Blackpool Tower today (May 12) and many of the bikers and volunteers will be on the tower headland to celebrate their momentous achievements over the past ten years.

The tenth anniversary has been recognised by senior healthcare professionals who have congratulated and praised the charity for its work in supporting the NHS.

Volunteers selflessly give up their free time to deliver life-saving blood and other urgent supplies to NHS hospitals throughout Lancashire and the South Lakes. The charity is run entirely by volunteers and no one is paid for the work that they carry out.

Chairman Mark Entwistle said: “Although we are called Blood Bikes and this is the main priority of the work we do transporting blood between hospitals, the service we undertake has changed over the years. In addition to transporting blood, we also deliver donor breast milk, medical samples, records, medicines, medical equipment or anything that is required urgently to improve the outcome for a patient or save their life.

“Our volunteers work long hours to make this possible and with over 450 volunteers, and over 300 bikers, we cover one of the largest areas in the country. In addition to the bikers, the vital work of the controllers and fund raisers to provide this service is awe-inspiring.

“The commitment and dedication of all of the volunteers across the charity means that the charity continues to excel and grow.”